TASTE: 5/5 SERVICE: 4/5 ATMOSPHERE & DECOR: 5/5
FOODBITES SAYS: “Amazing smoked seafood and meat – a must try place for BBQ lovers!”
WHERE: Ember Yard – 60 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8SU
AVERAGE PRICE: ~£40-£50 – for 2 people, (with tea!)
MUST HAVE: Hot Smoked Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly with Smoked Apple Cider Glaze
We came across Ember Yard during a quiet weekend late lunch period, a random stop after a day out shopping. A place to rest our legs and recharge in a calming atmosphere with some good food, and tea of course!
From the outset, we could see strong dark decor softened with wooden finishings, paintings on the wall and quirky, industrial looking hanging light bulbs. Further in, above the alcove where you could see chefs moving through steaming, smoking stations hard at work behind a counter, there was a hand written chalkboard message, which grabbed our attention. A charmingly hand written message stating what wood they were using for their smoke barbecue, a very nice touch and fitting of the seasonal menus they offer.
The singular waitress was attentive and responsive as she offered to refilled our quickly draining teapot with fresh boiled water. It didn’t take long for our empty tummies to place an order although that said, there were less than a handful of other tables beside us so, they would have had to be pretty bad to keep us waiting too long!
As the waitress waited patiently for us to pick through the menu, and answered any questions we had, after two minutes we had picked drinks and a good handful of dishes that would certainly fill us, in case the dishes came out small, (we were a bit wrong on that).
However, as she summarised our order, on second perusal of the menu, almost at the bottom were the words; ‘Hot Smoked Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly with Smoked Apple and Cider Glaze‘. Now technically the menu stated that the Pork Belly dish was a sharer item, but the smoked apple cider glaze sounded too good to miss. The waitress saw that although we had ordered our fill, our wanting eyes lingered on that last menu item. At £30, we knew it was not going to be a small side dish that we could wolf down especially after ordering the other dishes. Luckily for us, she volunteered to kindly ask the chefs if they would be able to get a single portion. To our luck and delight, we were granted a taste of this heavenly dish..
WHAT WE ORDERED:
- loose leaf tea (probably Earl Grey, though memory fails us!)
- steamed & chargrilled OCTOPUS with Manteca Roasted potatoes & Paprika aioli
- Chargrilled IBERICO PORK Ribs with Spiced Cauliflower Puree & Roasted Cauliflower
- Cornish HAKE in Alhambra Batter with Samphire, Mussels & Saffron Aioli
- MACKEREL Dish (forgot to mark down the exact menu description..oops!)
- Hot Smoked Gloucester Old Spot PORK Belly with Smoked Apple & Cider Glaze
Where to start?! We loved everything that we ordered but the most memorable dish being that last lucky item; hot smoked pork belly. And to think, this delicious opportunity was almost missed! When we entered the Ember Yard, we were not entirely sure what to expect or what to order… due to exhaustion and hunger, hot comforting food was all that was on mind. And quick!
The meat was soft, tender, juicy and melt-in-your-mouth good! Just everything you would want your pork belly to feel like in your mouth and fill your tummy. The Glaze added wonderful layers to the smoked pork flavour. (TIP: cut a small piece of the accompanying apple to go with every bite just makes it so heavenly). We actually had this last as it took some time to be cooked, but well worth the wait! While we were already full halfway through this most beautiful piece of meat, we just couldn’t stop eating it!
I encourage Ember Yard to put this item at the top of their menu, so that no one else would ever again almost miss this most perfect dish!
The SEAFOOD did not disappoint either. All the seafood dishes were beautifully presented and had wonderful seasoning, without losing their natural flavours.
The Cornish Hake (look below), while looking like a standard battered fish was perfectly cooked with accompanying saffron aioli, decorated with samphire added a saltiness which really elevated the taste sensation.
Mackerel (just look below) always tastes amazing, but here there was an added wonderful smoky note, which was complimented with the added tomatoes, rocket and pickled shallots. This provided a wonderful freshness and sharpness to our tingling taste buds.
Next, the octopus (as shown below).. Lovely, tender, perfectly cooked, pairing it with the paprika aioli and potatoes with each bite provided a great contrast of textures. Absolute pleasure – we just couldn’t stop with the octopus! If we had ordered less and were still hungry, you bet we would have ordered more!
Probably the most underwhelming of dish we ordered was the Pork Ribs (looking at you from below). That being said, the ribs were still amazing. Comparatively, to the other dishes somewhat lacking impact. The charring was just right, the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, the cauliflower puree brought in yet another layer of deep flavour and smoothness, the charred cauliflower also added a note of smokiness… Maybe because of the order it was served to us in, being the penultimate dish, we had already gotten significantly fuller, that the heaviness of the ribs just didn’t have as big of an impact.
All in all, did I mention, the platings were quite stylish? From slate plates to wooden boards each dish was served and wonderfully styled. The contrasts excited our eyes as well as our tummies! We would definitely come here again, and recommend to anyone else looking for some flavourful top notch BBQ food to stop by and give it a try.
Since they offer a seasonal menu, dishes will change all the time, we are definitely looking forward to our next visit!
If anyone else has tried their food please let us know what you tried and how you found it – would be great to see how well Ember Yard stands out as the menu changes!